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NPA believed to be buying time to explain decision to drop charges
ANC president Jacob Zuma had to put his champagne back on ice yesterday as the National Prosecuting Authority announced it would not make public until Friday its decision on whether to drop his corruption case.
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But insiders with links to both the NPA and Zuma believe the decision has already been taken to halt the prosecution of the presidential hopeful.
The ANC leader spent much of yesterday afternoon with his family at his house in Forest Town, Johannesburg, waiting for the NPA decision.
His lawyer, Michael Hulley, had flown in from Durban for the expected announcement.
But the NPA, whose bosses have spent the past two days considering Zuma’s representations on why his case should be dropped, announced that it had not made up its collective mind and that a further statement would be released on Friday.
The representations are said to include recordings of phone conversations that indicate there was political interference in the NPA’s decision to charge Zuma.
NPA communications manager Bulelwa Makeke told The Times that the delay in announcing the decision was due to a number of issues that still had to be ironed out.
“There was some information that needs to be verified that is central to this thing [the case]. By Friday, they [the NPA bosses] would have finalised everything … We would have taken care of procedural issues. [The acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe] will still have to advise Zuma’s people on decisions made before he says anything to the media,” Makeke said.
But those close to the process say the NPA is now buying itself time in which to come up with a comprehensive explanation of its decision not to charge Zuma.
One insider said if it had been decided at yesterday’s meeting to go ahead with Zuma’s prosecution, a “one-liner statement” would have been issued, not a lengthy one.
“I think they will be consulting a senior counsel to draw up a lengthy explanation based on legal argument. They must come up with a strategy to get the press to make the public believe they are doing the right thing.
“They will not want to make the same mistake that [former national director of public prosecutions Bulelani] Ngcuka did when he only said the case was not winnable. It will make for a juicier press statement, but [not issuing it ] could be more devastating,” the insider said.
Zuma himself seemed to have been expecting the NPA to drop the charges yesterday.
He cancelled, at the last minute, a scheduled noon briefing with political journalists to spend time with well-wishers and family members at his home.
The briefing was rescheduled for today, but cancelled when it became clear the NPA would not make its decision public until Friday.
Though Zuma backers, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, expressed disappointment that the announcement had not been made, they said they remained confident that things would go their way.
Their confidence stemmed largely from claims that, since Hulley and the ANC made their representations to the NPA, more “explosive evidence” had been submitted allegedly proving that former president Thabo Mbeki and Ngcuka meddled in the case.
“People are volunteering information left, right and centre. Even those who were loyal [to Mbeki] want to be on the right side by providing useful information to Zuma. The advantage for Msholozi is that he is about to be president whereas the other guy [Mbeki] is powerless,” said an insider.
Story from the Times here!
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
I SMELL A HUGE COVER UP HERE!!!!!